“Unit 4: Day 1, 1 Nephi 15,” Book of Mormon Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2012), 31–34
“Unit 4: Day 1,” Book of Mormon Study Guide, 31–34
In 1 Nephi 15 you will see the contrast between Nephi’s diligent efforts to receive personal revelation and the faithless efforts of his brothers. As you study this chapter, ponder the effort you are making to receive answers and guidance from the Lord.
Many activities require effort on our part before we are able to enjoy the results. Think of an activity that you participate in—such as schoolwork, playing a musical instrument, or athletics—and ponder the relationship between the effort you put into the activity and the results that follow. Look for a similar pattern as you study 1 Nephi 15. Notice how putting forth effort relates to learning spiritual truths and receiving revelation from the Lord.
After diligently seeking to understand his father’s vision and teachings and then receiving his own revelation, Nephi returned to his father’s tent. There he found his brothers disputing with each other. Search 1 Nephi 15:1–3, and identify what they were discussing.
Read 1 Nephi 15:8, and underline the question Nephi asked his brothers. Why is this a logical question for Nephi to ask after what he had just experienced?
Underline the brothers’ response in 1 Nephi 15:9. The word for in this verse means because. In other words, Nephi’s brothers explained, “We haven’t asked the Lord because He doesn’t speak to us.”
- Imagine you have a friend who doesn’t ask the Lord for guidance because he or she doesn’t believe He will answer. Study 1 Nephi 15:11, and ponder the counsel Nephi gave his brothers about obtaining answers from the Lord. Then, in your scripture study journal, write a letter encouraging your friend to ask God in faith. Share Nephi’s counsel and your own feelings about prayer in the letter.
One gospel principle we can learn from Nephi’s and his brothers’ actions and experiences is that if we inquire of the Lord in faith and obey His commandments, then we will be prepared to receive greater revelation and guidance from Him.
- Select one of the questions below, and answer it in your scripture study journal:
What would you say to help a new member of the Church understand what is required of us in order to be taught and guided by the Lord?
How have your efforts to learn spiritual truths and seek the Lord’s guidance affected your ability to feel the Spirit and understand the gospel?
Sometime within the next day, share your answer to the above assignment with a parent, other family member, Church leader, or teacher. As you do, invite the person to share experiences with you about when he or she put forth effort and faith in seeking Heavenly Father’s help and guidance.
Nephi’s brothers were confused about Lehi’s prophecy and teachings of the olive tree and the Gentiles (see 1 Nephi 15:7; see also 1 Nephi 10:12–15). Nephi explained that the scattering of the natural branches of the olive tree symbolized the physical and spiritual scattering of the house of Israel (God’s covenant people) because of their disobedience. In their scattered state they lost the knowledge of the gospel, as well as their identity as members of the house of Israel. As part of the gathering of the house of Israel in the latter days, people all over the earth will accept the restored gospel and realize that they are the covenant people of the Lord (see 1 Nephi 15:14–15).
Read 1 Nephi 15:14, and mark what scattered Israel will understand in the latter days.
Nephi taught that those who join the Church are as if they were grafted “into the true olive-tree” (1 Nephi 15:16). He also said that, like the scattering of the house of Israel, this grafting or gathering would happen “by way of the Gentiles” (1 Nephi 15:17). It may be helpful to understand that “in the scriptures, Gentiles has several meanings. Sometimes it designates people of non-Israelite lineage, sometimes people of non-Jewish lineage, and sometimes nations that are without the gospel, even though there may be some Israelite blood among the people. This latter usage is especially characteristic of the word as used in the Book of Mormon” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Gentiles,” scriptures.lds.org).
The Lord keeps His promises and remembers His covenants with His children. He desires all of His children to receive the blessings of the everlasting gospel (see 1 Nephi 15:18). Your efforts to share the gospel with friends and family and your commitment to serve an honorable mission help fulfill Lehi’s prophecy.
The remainder of 1 Nephi 15 covers questions Nephi’s brothers asked him about Lehi’s dream. They asked, “What meaneth the rod of iron which our father saw, that led to the tree?” (1 Nephi 15:23.) Read Nephi’s answer in 1 Nephi 15:24–25, and identify the blessings promised those who hearken diligently to the word of God. In the following statements from President Ezra Taft Benson about the power of the word of God, underline phrases that are similar to what Nephi taught:
“Not only will the word of God lead us to the fruit which is desirable above all others, but in the word of God and through it we can find the power to resist temptation, the power to thwart the work of Satan and his emissaries.”
“The word of God … has the power to fortify the Saints and arm them with the Spirit so they can resist evil, hold fast to the good, and find joy in this life.”
“Success in righteousness, the power to avoid deception and resist temptation, guidance in our daily lives, healing of the soul—these are but a few of the promises the Lord has given to those who will come to His word. … However diligent we may be in other areas, certain blessings are to be found only in the scriptures, only in coming to the word of the Lord and holding fast to it as we make our way through the mists of darkness to the tree of life” (“The Power of the Word,” Ensign, May 1986, 80, 82).
It is vital that we hold to the word of God through scripture study, prayer, and listening to inspired leaders.
- In your scripture study journal, design a flyer promoting the word of God. Be sure to include the blessings Nephi promised to those who hold fast to the word of God. You may also want to list sources for finding the word of God.
Consider writing the following principle in your scriptures near 1 Nephi 15:24–25: Studying and following the word of God daily strengthens us against Satan’s temptations.
- To help strengthen your testimony of this principle, answer one or both of the following questions in your scripture study journal:
What experience related to your personal scripture study has helped you to know that this principle is true?
How can you find out if this principle is true?
In Lehi’s dream, those who held fast to the iron rod were led safely through the mist of darkness to the tree of life. In 1 Nephi 15:26, Nephi’s brothers asked him to explain the meaning of the river that was near the tree of life. Look in 1 Nephi 15:27–29, and identify what the river represented.
Read 1 Nephi 15:32–36. Why would Nephi’s brothers have been troubled by these teachings?
- Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
What parts of Lehi’s dream and Nephi’s interpretation of the dream show God’s love and concern for Nephi’s brothers?
How do you see God’s love and concern for you in 1 Nephi 15?
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied 1 Nephi 15 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: